Have you ever read a book or website that has completely changed your way of thinking? I was thinking about this as I was reading the book “Good Calories Bad Calories, Challenging the Conventional Wisdom on Diet, Weight Control and Disease”. Although I am not finished it yet, I have found it very engrossing as it challenges the majority of nutrition wisdom around low fat/low calorie/low cholesterol eating that North American health professionals adopted as gospel in the 1950s and have carried on to today. Although not necessarily a “game-changer” this book definitely has got me thinking about why I eat the way I do. Although there are many more people than I am going to list below, I thought I would highlight a few writers that have inspired me, personal finance-wise.
When I first graduated from University, seven years ago I had very little knowledge about money and what I should do with money. I had a bunch of student debt a decent paying job and really no plan. Enter The Wealthy Barber – for someone who had no plans or aspirations, the easy to read and understand story told gave me money goals and aspirations to strive for. I gained a basic level of personal finance knowledge that I followed over the next five years, where I paid off my student loans (approximately $25,000 worth), bought a car with cash (for which I got a lot of comments like “it must be nice to have that kind of money laying around”) and religiously saved 10% of my pay for the future. I will forever be grateful to David Chilton (the author) for writing this book. I own it, I bought my 21 year old sister a copy of it when she graduated from college (hoping she might have the same type of reaction as I did) and would tell anyone who needs a plan to read this book.
I followed the advice for several years, basically planning on leaving the workforce at around 55 or 60 like most people. About two or three years ago, I picked up a copy of Derek Foster’s “Stop Working, Here’s How You Can”. Although I don’t necessarily agree with the author essentially bailing on his iron-clad investment tactic in what seems a fit of panic during the economic downturn (when I believe his book states to look for these opportunities to boost your portfolio) in general his book changed my whole thinking on retirement. He offered a plan that would that would allow me to retire in around 12 years. For someone with around 40 years of work ahead of them, cutting that down by 75% is very attractive. I understand the riskiness of living on just the dividends from stocks promoted by his book, but there is a certain level of hopefulness offered by this book that gave me hope.
The final author, which eventually lead me to this site (it’s listed in his blogroll) is Jacob from Early Retirement Extreme. This author offers a method of leaving the workforce in around five years. I read every post he had on his site over a two or three day period – eating up what he was saying as it made sense to me. Although I don’t know if my spouse and I could live on $10,000 to $15,000 per year, he provides a method of doing so and has proven that it is not only doable (he did it himself) but enjoyable to be retired in your early 30s. Although I have gravitated more towards Tim’s site and his more “moderate” stance on early retirement, striving to copy Jacob’s method and discipline may shave a couple of years off of my retirement date.
So, these are the people that have lead me on my current financial path. Do you have any writers that have inspired you financially (or otherwise)?